Many people with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty with transitioning from one activity to another. This can lead to frustration and tantrums as well as problems in school, at home, or on the job because autistic people like following a habit.
The use of visual schedules for autism has been found to be effective in improving behavior and reducing dependence on caretakers for completing daily activities.
Visual schedules are a great way for children or adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to learn how their day is organized. They help individuals understand what tasks they will complete each hour of the day and when they will receive breaks.
Visual schedules for autism also help reduce stress by allowing an individual time to prepare before a transition occurs. With practice using a visual schedule, individuals become more independent and less reliant on others for proper organization throughout the day!
By checking off activities that they have completed in the day, an autistic person feels accomplished and really happy about it. You will see them beaming with joy that their days are so well organized and that they are able to track how their day is panning out.
In this blog post about visual schedules for autism, we will look at :
1. What is a visual schedule for autism?
A visual schedule is a systematic arrangement of activities in a chronological order using pictures, objects or text that informs an autistic person what activity to do now and what will follow that.
But why the need for a visual scheduler?
Well, many people who are on the Autism Spectrum struggle to communicate their needs and desires effectively, especially in situations that may be stressful like grocery shopping or going out into public places.
A visual schedule for autism can provide a way of communicating this information visually instead which is often much easier for them to understand when there’s less pressure involved than trying to verbalize it themselves.
Importance of a visual schedule to your autistic child
- Predictability–Autistic people want to be able to predict what they should do next without having to ask or fumble with so many things. Visual schedules help them out.
- Reduces frustration of trying to figure out what next
- Make the child time-conscious and know what task to do next
- Help parents know what their autistic kid is doing–The visual schedule is a great way to tell what your child is doing at a certain task. If they are out in the grocery, their visual schedule, if shared will tell you exactly this.
How to create a visual schedule for your autistic child
There are lots of printable visual schedules available online or apps that could help your autistic child with planning their day.
The best way though is to get your hands dirty doing a DIY. You will need to incorporate your autistic child in the DIY so that they can feel involved.
You do not need much. A cardboard, ruler and marker pens will do.
You can use simple pictures of your child doing their daily routines as part of their visual schedules. For example, when they wake up or use the toilet, take a picture and pin it on the cardboard during a time when they are supposed to do the task.
You could also draw out simple but understandable images that your child will be able to interpret and do the activity that they dictate be done. To have your child understand the activities, you will need to write the activities just below the pinned images.
Visual schedule apps
Here are a few visual schedule apps that will help your autistic child with planning their day. They are very interactive and fun to use.
- First-Then visual schedule
The First-Then visual schedule app is the perfect tool to help your child stay on task and complete their daily tasks. It includes first-then boards, social stories, video models and more. This App is designed for children with special needs but can be used by anyone who has trouble staying focused on one task at a time.
You’ll never have to worry about forgetting what your child was supposed to do next because this app will remind them when it’s time for the next step in the process. With this app, they’ll know exactly what’s expected of them every day!
- Visual schedule planner.
The app great for individuals who may need visual supports to help ease transitions or like their events for the day visually represented. It is customizable, can be viewed as a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule, and supports activity schedules and video models for each event. Activity schedule timers and checklist features are also available through this platform.
- Happy Kids Timer
After school or work, children need to be reminded of what they have to do next. Kids can easily lose track of time and their tasks for the day.
The app is designed in a fun way that will help kids remember the order of things throughout the day. Characters are there to encourage your child while also teaching them how long each activity should take.
Each task has a completion time assigned, and characters are there to encourage your child as they beat the clock! Happy Kids Timer makes it easy for you by allowing you to set up multiple routines so you can customize each one based on what your child needs at different times during their day. Parents love this App because it helps keep kids on track with their morning routine, which is often hard when faced with getting ready for school or work in a hurry! This App has been used by thousands of families across America who want an easier way to get out the door every morning without rushing around.